Matson on Romney’s Flub, Role of Local Cartoons

R.J. Matson, the editorial cartoonist for Roll Call in Washington, D.C. (and who I syndicate via Cagle Cartoons) came up with an original take on Mitt Romney’s much-maligned comments following the tragic attack on the U.S. consulate on Benghazi, Libya:

Matson is one of the most prolific editorial cartoonists working today. In addition to his job with Roll Call, Matson was the daily staff cartoonist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for seven years, before being laid-off last month as part of a paper-wide cutback of employees to save money.

I interviewed Matson about being laid-off, and he shares my fear about the future of editorial cartoons, which are more popular than ever online and in syndication, but threatened by these continued job cuts.

“It’s such a difficult job to do well day after day, I don’t see how cartoonist can crank out stuff like that unless it’s a full-paid job treated with a lot of respect by the publisher,” Matson said.

“The cartoonist is essentially a columnist and a vital voice for the paper, and a vital voice for the community,” Matson continued. “People love to see events in their town reflected back in editorial cartoons… If newspapers give up on that, they’re giving up on their local scene.”

Here’s the interview:



The Do Nothing Congress Olympics

With the Olympics in full-swing, I thought I’d share this clever mini-series of cartoons from our own R.J. Matson, the political cartoonist for Roll Call. Sadly, these cartoons are right on the mark about a Congress with an approval rating of just 12 percent:


Cartoonist Matson Among Layoffs at Post-Dispatch

On Friday, Lee Enterprises announced it was laying off  nearly two dozen employees at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 14 of which came from their newsroom. Among the laid-off journalist is someone familiar to readers – their staff cartoonist, R.J. Matson.

R.J. Matson

Matson, whose cartoons I syndicate to newspapers nationally with Cagle Cartoons, moved to St. Louis in 2007 to become the staff cartoonist at the Post-Dispatch, and has survived many cutbacks and layoffs along the way.

“I had a good seven year run. No regrets. I had the honor of working with a lot of great journalists, many of whom were laid off or jumped ship, during my time at the Post-Dispatch,” Matson said.  “When my number came up, I didn’t take it personally.”

We will continue to syndicate Matson’s great cartoons. He’ll continue to draw four cartoons a week for Roll Call, but he’ll miss drawing cartoons about the local politics of St. Louis and Missouri.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures,” Matson said.  “But desperate measures won’t bring in new readers and will alienate a lot of loyal readers, many of whom really like to see their community reflected in local editorial cartoons.”

You can view Matson’s terrific cartoons here.